Efficiency (from Dictionary.com):
1. the state or quality of being efficient; competency in performance.
2. accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with minimum expenditure of time and effort.
In college football, efficiency is measured by a variety of ways. However, statistics such as points per game, yards per game, and yards per carry can be misleading.
Let's consider the scoring record that Oklahoma just broke. The Sooners average an astounding 54 points per game. No other team in the history of college football has ever scored as many points in a season. Certainly the OU offense is the best in the country, if not the best in history?
Not so fast my friend. Let's delve a little deeper.
In the average game, OU attempts 36.6 passes and rushes 43.1 times, for a total of 79.7 offensive plays per game.
In contrast, Florida attempts only 23 passes and rushes 38.5 times per game, for a total of only 61.5 offensive plays per game.
The difference? More than 18 plays. That is a 30 percent difference. How is this possible?
The first impulse is to check the time of possession, and assume that OU holds the ball longer than the Gators.
OU only holds the ball two seconds longer per game than the Gators. That's only 26 seconds over the entire season. So that's not it.
The answer is Tempo. OU runs a quicker offense, and is able to squeeze in more plays than the Gators in the same amount of time.
The average Sooner play takes only 22.4 seconds. The Gators burn 29 seconds per play.
Perhaps it's the Sooners, not the speedy Gators, that have the fastest team in the nation!
This also works to increase the number of plays for Oklahoma's opponents as well. Texas Tech had 77 offensive plays in their loss to OU. Texas had 70 offensive plays and held OU to only 67 offensive plays in their 45-35 win, both above Florida's average of 61.5 offensive plays per game.
So as OU's next opponent how would Florida's offense fair with the 30 percent more plays that it will get in the BCS National Championship game?
Florida averages over 45 points per game, good enough for third in the country. Increase that by 30 percent and the result is 58.
So, if the Gators and the Sooners had the same number of offensive plays, Florida's average points per game increases to 58, which is better than OU's 54 points per game.
On defense, Florida's points allowed would only go up to 16.5 points per game, which is still well under OU's 24.5 points per game. Both defenses are solid.
Indeed, Oklahoma and Florida have explosive offenses that can put points on the board in a hurry.
However, the Gators have spent a little less time and effort doing so.